Our Community, Our Health

Starting A National Conversation About Health Research

OCOH Our Community, Our Health
header-picturesOur Community, Our Health (OCOH) is a town hall meeting that facilitates two-way communication between the community and researchers. It is a platform for sharing ideas about health-research priorities, a vehicle for communicating research findings to the community, and a way to integrate ideas for research from multiple stakeholders across the country.

Here’s how it works: Each event has both a physical audience and people from various locations tuning in via live-stream. Sites hosting local events begin with a community reception and local updates. Then, all sites join a brief, live-streamed town hall comprised of health researchers, health experts, and community members.

Participants are invited to discuss the studies and future research with the presenters, encouraging a mutual understanding of health research and its impact. Polling and social media are used to facilitate questions and comments across sites.

Each OCOH event features researchers from a different site, and feedback from participants is used to improve the forum as it continues to develop and expand. All events are open to the public.

Become a Participating Site

If your CTSA site is interested in hosting an OCOH, University of Florida’s HealthStreet can help! The OCOH is an innovative way to engage the local and national community in the public health process while creating an opportunity to showcase your institution’s current research. To find out more about hosting an event, please contact Tamara Lowrey at (352) 294-4871 or by emailing tlowrey@ufl.edu.


Upcoming OCOH Events

January 22, 2019: Healthy Aging: Evidence-Based Lifestyle Interventions

This interactive town hall will:

  • Discuss current research on exercise and nutritional interventions for healthy aging
  • Describe ways to enhance motivation in order to reach long-term health goals
  • Highlight community-based programs that use evidence-based interventions

Time: Local reception begins at 5:30 p.m. EDT, town hall 6-7 p.m. EDT

Location: HealthStreet, 2401 SW Archer Road, Gainesville, FL 32608

RSVP now and share with your friends.

Live Stream Link

Past OCOH Events

November 29, 2018: Diabetes: The Hidden Epidemic

Key topics:

  • Describe current diabetes research on Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.
  • Discuss the growing prevalence of diabetes and whether funding for research is keeping pace.
  • Address the rising cost of insulin and what our communities can do about it.

Our moderator was Desmond Schatz, M.D. Professor and Associate Chair, Pediatrics, Medical Director of the UF Diabetes Institute, and Associate Director of the Clinical Research Center, at the University of Florida.

Panelists included:

  • Michael Haller, M.D.Professor & Chief, Department of Pediatrics, University of Florida. Dr. Haller coordinates an active research team focused on the prediction, prevention, and reversal of type 1 diabetes, and is an active investigator in the NIH funded Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet, the NIH TEDDY study, and the T1D Exchange.
  • Frederick Southwick, M.D. Professor of Medicine and Infectious Disease Specialist, University of Florida. Southwick is a creator of innovative approaches for preventing medical errors that result in patient injuries and deaths. He is the co-founder of the Gainesville chapter of the Empowered Patient Coalition and a chapter leader for Right Care Alliance, Gainesville.
  • Joni S. Williams. M.D., MPHAssistant Professor of Medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin in the Division of General Internal Medicine and the Center for Advancing Population Science (CAPS).She is a health services researcher focused on disparities related to chronic disease management in vulnerable populations.

Event information

Recorded Livestream


September 27, 2018: Multiple Sclerosis: A Revolution in the Making

Panelists from the University of Southern California, the University of Florida, and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society gathered to discuss the advances in care and treatment of Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

Key topics:

  • What does the recent gene therapy discovery mean for current and future MS patients?
  •  Is early diagnosis important for the patient’s prognosis?
  •  What resources are important for MS patients and their caregivers?

Our moderator wasTirisham Gyang, MD, assistant clinical professor, and division chief for MS at the University of Florida’s department of neurology.

Featured panelists included:

  • Lilyana Amezcua, MD, associate professor of clinical neurology at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine
  • Brad E Hoffman, PhD, assistant professor in the departments of pediatrics and neuroscience at the University of Florida’s College of Medicine
  • Sarah Kurtz, MPA, manager of healthcare provider engagement at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society

Event information

Recorded Livestream


August 29, 2018: Pesticides and Health: What We Need to Know

UF HealthStreet’s next Our Community, Our Health town hall meeting will focus on pesticides and human health. We invite you to join our panel of scientists as they discuss pest control and the impact of chemical pesticides on human health. We will discuss questions like:

  • Do pesticides increase the risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s?
  • How are we exposed to pesticides?
  • How can we protect ourselves in our own communities and while on the job?

Our moderator is Pamela Koons, Executive Director, At The WELLness Network, Inc. and board member of the Gainesville chapter NAMI.

Featured panelists include:

  • Jeff Bronstein, MD, PhD, Director, Movement Disorders Program and Professor of Molecular Toxicology, Neurology, UCLA
  • Jeannie Economos, Pesticide Safety and Environmental Health Project Coordinator, Farmworker Association of Florida
  • Joan Flocks, MA, JD, Director, Social Policy Division Center for Governmental Responsibility, Levin College of Law, UF
  • Joe Grzywacz, PhD, Department Chair & Norejane Hendrickson Professor, College of Human Sciences, FSU

Event information

Recorded Livestream


July 26, 2018: National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

UF HealthStreet’s 18th national Our Community, Our Health town hall meeting addressed the impact of childhood trauma and mental health issues on minority communities. The discussion focused on the negative consequences and life-altering outcomes of undiagnosed mental disorders and examined some of the reasons that diagnosis and treatment happen less frequently in minority communities.

Our moderator was Pamela Koons, Executive Director, At The WELLness Network, Inc. and board member of the Gainesville chapter NAMI.

Featured panelists included:

  • Michelle E. Jacobs-Elliott, MD (Staff Psychiatrist, UF Student Health Care Center; Assistant Dean, Office for Diversity and Health Equity, UF College of Medicine)
  • Micah E. Johnson, PhD (National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Drug Abuse Postdoctoral Fellow in the UF Department of Epidemiology)
  • Andres Pumariega, MD (Professor and Chief, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, UF College of Medicine and UF Health)

Event information

Recorded Livestream


May 21, 2018: Opioid Addiction: Controversies Surrounding Treatment

UF HealthStreet hosted the 17th national Our Community, Our Health town hall meeting, the second in our series covering the opioid crisis, on May 18, 2018. This town hall focused on the topic of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder (OUD).

Our moderator was Irvin (PeDro) Cohen, EdD, Chair, UF CTSI Community Advisory Board and Executive Director, Florida’s First Coast YMCA

Featured panelists included:

  • Jay Kuchera, MD, FASAM (Algiatry, Addiction Medicine, Anesthesiology, Envision Physician Services/ Resolute Pain Solutions),
  • Barbara (Basia) Andraka-Christou, Esq., JD, PhD (Assistant Professor, Department of Health Management and Informatics, University of Central Florida), and
  • Jason Hunt, MD (Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Division of Addiction Medicine, UF College of Medicine; Attending Physician, UF Health Florida Recovery Center).

Our panelists discussed why MAT is the standard of care for treating OUD. They examined the stigma associated with the disorder and how barriers to treatment are accelerating the rate of overdose deaths in the US.

Event information

Recorded Livestream


February 28, 2018: Youth Tobacco Prevention Policy

UF HealthStreet hosted the 16th national Our Community, Our Health national town hall on February 28, 2018. This town hall focused on the topic of youth tobacco use and prevention policy. Featured panelists, including Dr. Ramzi Salloum (Assistant Professor, UF Health Outcomes & Policy), Victoria Hunter Gibney (Chair, Tobacco Free Alachua), and Andrew Romero (Health Policy Program Manager, FL Dept. of Health) presented data and research, discussed Tobacco 21, and answered questions about youth tobacco use.

Event information

Recorded Livestream


November 14, 2017: Food Insecurity: A National Town Hall

UF HealthStreet’s next Our Community, Our Health national town hall will take place on November 14, 2017, from 6-7pm. This town hall will focus on topics of food deserts and food insecurity. Featured panelists, including Dr. Bruce Waite (Fresh Wagon), David Dinkins (UF/IFAS), Dr. Catherine Campbell (Family Nutrition Program & Program for Research Efficient Communities), and Sylvia James (Gainesville Housing Authority) will be presenting research, discussing models that have been tested, talking about national issues of food insecurity, and answering questions about food deserts and food insecurity.

Event Information

Recorded Livestream


August 30, 2017: Opioids: A Crisis Facing Our Communities

HealthStreet, a community engagement program at the University of Florida, is hosting its 14th National Our Community, Our Health (OCOH) event to discuss how communities are being affected by the national opioid crisis. Researchers and physicians from the University of FloridaNova Southeastern University and Resolute Anesthesia & Pain Solutions are sharing the latest findings on the opioid crisis in the U.S. at a national, live-streamed town hall event called Our Community, Our Health: Opioids: A Crisis Facing Our Communities

Event Information

Recorded Livestream


March 30, 2017: Everything You Wanted to Know About the Zika Virus

Researchers from the University of Florida, the University of Miami and the Florida Department of Health are sharing the latest findings on the Zika virus to address community concerns at a national, live-streamed town hall event called Our Community, Our Health: Everything You Wanted to Know about the Zika Virus.

Event Information

Recorded Livestream


February 21, 2017: HPV Vaccine: Taking a Shot Against Cancer

HealthStreet — a community engagement program at the University of Florida, is hosting its 12th National Our Community, Our Health (OCOH) event to discuss how the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine can prevent various types of cancer among people in our community.

Event Information

Recorded Livestream


January 31, 2017: Addressing the Stigma: Intersections Between HIV and Substance Abuse

HealthStreet – a community engagement program at the University of Florida– and the Southern HIV and Alcohol Research Consortium are hosting an engaging event, Our Community, Our Health (OCOH), to discuss relevant research addressing the stigma against HIV and drug and alcohol use.

Event Information

Recorded Livestream


October 26, 2016: Understanding and Addressing Trauma Across the Life Span

HealthStreet – a community-engaged research initiative of the University of Florida Clinical and Translational Institute, in partnership with Georgetown-Howard Universities Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences, is hosting the 10th national Our Community, Our Health event (OCOH) to discuss the role that the trauma has on changing the face of our communities’ mental health care

Event Information


July 19, 2016: Nurses: Changing the Face of Health Care

HealthStreet – a community-engaged research initiative of the University of Florida Clinical and Translational Science Institute – and the University of Florida College of Nursing are hosting the 8th national Our Community, Our Health event (OCOH) to discuss the role that the nurse has on changing the face of our communities’ health care. The OCOH town hall series facilitates two-way communication between researchers and community members across the country. We share ideas about priorities for health research and ways to communicate research findings. We blend ideas for research from multiple stakeholders.

Event information

Recorded Livestream


June 30, 2016: Women’s Heart Health

HealthStreet, a community-engaged research initiative at the University of Florida, and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences are hosting the 7th Our Community, Our Health event (OCOH) on women’s heart health. This town hall meeting facilitates two-way communication between the community and researchers. We share ideas about priorities for health research and ways to communicate research findings and blends ideas for research from multiple stakeholders across the country.

Event information

Recorded Livestream 


May 17, 2016: Mental Health Care Solutions in Our Communities

Event information

Post-Event Resources 


April 27, 2016: Lung Cancer Research & Me: Everything I Wanted To Know

HealthStreet is partnering with the UF College of Journalism and Communications’ STEM/CTSI Translational Communication Research Program to host an informative, interactive and engaging live panel discussion about lung cancer research. Panelists include Dennie Jones, MD,  a board-certified medical oncologist with expertise in the study and treatment of lung cancer. In addition to UF, participating sites included Florida Blue stores and six CTSAs. Through social media and text messaging, the one-hour forum provides local and virtual participants the opportunity to discuss the role of research in advancing the care of patients with lung cancer.


Feb. 10, 2016: Colorectal Cancer Research

The UF HealthStreet and STEM Translational Communication Center hosted a live panel discussion about colorectal cancer research. The panel was moderated by Bridget Grogan, multimedia news manager for the UF College of Journalism and Communications. Through social media and text messaging, the one-hour forum provided local and virtual participants the opportunity to discuss the role of research in advancing the care of patients with colorectal cancer.


Jan. 12, 2016: Breast Cancer Research & Me: Everything I Wanted To Know

HealthStreet partnered with the UF College of Journalism and Communications’ STEM/CTSI Translational Communication Research Program to host an informative, interactive and engaging live panel discussion about breast cancer research. Panelists included Karen Daily, D.O., a clinically-based investigator and educator at the UF Health Breast Center; Rebekah Bush, CCRC, a clinical research coordinator certified by the Association of Clinical Research Professionals; and Lisa Edwing, a 20-year breast cancer survivor. In addition to UF, participating sites included Florida Blue stores and six CTSAs. Through social media and text messaging, the one-hour forum provided local and virtual participants the opportunity to discuss the role of research in advancing the care of patients with breast cancer.


Sept. 24, 2015: Marijuana Use Among Youth

In alignment with the Substance Abuse and Mental Services Administration’s celebration of National Recovery Month, Our Community, Our Health focused on research findings related to marijuana use among youth. The featured speaker was Dr. Maureen Boyle, Chief of the Science Policy Branch at the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The program also included music and performances by the University of Florida’s Arts in Medicine program.


April 9, 2015: Type 1 Diabetes and High Blood Pressure

The April 9 forum featured experts from the University of Florida and Health Literacy Missouri. Each researcher presented for about 20 minutes, followed by 10 minutes for questions and answers. The program concluded with tips on how to talk to your healthcare provider about the topics discussed. HealthStreet hosted the event in Gainesville, Florida, and was joined by eight other Clinical and Translational Science Award sites across the country.